Moving to Thailand to teach English for a year wasn’t a quick decision. There are so many countries in the world that offer programs similar to what I chose and narrowing down that decision came to four major factors.
1. Geographical Location
I was planning a backpacking trip for March 2015 throughout Southeast Asia when I started looking into teaching abroad. The geographical location of Thailand allows me to backpack through Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and of course Thailand. Also, have you ever seen pictures of Thailand?! It’s gorgeous! Depending on where my placement is, I can take weekend trips to the islands in the south, the mountains in the north, or the bustling city of Bangkok. Whether I’m living in an urban setting and want some tranquility, or vice versa, I can make that happen – for about $60 USD roundtrip. No complaining here!
2. Cultural Experience
Living in Thailand as an expat versus visiting for a few weeks, or even a couple months, brings on a different experience. I will be submerged in the Thai culture, The Land of Smiles! From the religion, the school structure, the daily life, all the way to the food. Oh yes! THE FOOD! I love Americanized Thai food and I definitely have my favorite dish (pad thai) but the more people I talk to say the street food is unlike anything I’ve had in the US.
3. Respected Profession
Teachers in Thailand are very well respected. They are considered part of the government bureaucracy and serve the monarch (symbolically). Thai children are learning English in the earliest years of school and continue to practice throughout their lives so I am able to choose a preference for the age level I want to teach.
4. Cost of Living and Pay
Living in Thailand is relatively affordable. If you compare that to the San Francisco Bay Area, it is VERY affordable. Depending on the lifestyle you are looking to live, a Foreign English Teachers pay is more than enough to live comfortably. In some regions, you can even save money!